These 5 Companies Paved The Way For The Fintech Boom

original top companies paving way fintech boom innovators

The fintech boom shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, it’s clear at this point that it’s anything but a fad. The way consumers and businesses manage money and assets has already changed forever, and the true extent of fintech’s disruptive potential has scarcely made itself felt. 

This isn’t what incumbents want to hear as they scramble to iterate. Nor is it welcome news for early disruptors who fear they’ll get caught up in future waves of innovation. 

It’s a good thing for consumers and businesses tired of the old way of doing things, however. And certainly for future fintech entrepreneurs too. 

With that in mind, let’s take stock of the state of fintech innovation to date. These five companies, in particular, helped pave the way for the current boom, and the way they did it could offer inspiration (if not a step-by-step plan) for innovators yet to come. 

1. PayPal 

In the year 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk does a very good job of being, well, Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Or SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Or The Boring Company CEO Elon Musk. Or...okay, the guy wears a lot of hats. 

One hat many forget Musk once wore — and the hat that paved the way for all the hats to come — was as founder and CEO of PayPal, the pioneering payment technology company that teamed up with eBay to revolutionize e-commerce in the halcyon days of Web 1.0. 

PayPal is now a multibillion-dollar behemoth, if not quite the innovator it once was. But it’s in many ways the original fintech success story. 

2. Green Dot Corporation 

Green Dot Corporation founder and former CEO Steve Streit launched his fintech unicorn not long after Musk started his. Streit arguably hustled just as hard, starting at a table in his bedroom and hosting meetings at a kitchen table before moving to a proper office. 

Those days are but a memory. Today, as a leading provider of mobile bank accounts and debit cards, Green Dot is a key part of the United States’ financial plumbing. And it has spawned dozens if not hundreds of imitators. 

3. Expensify 

Expensify disrupted the decidedly un-sexy business of expense tracking and reporting. Like Green Dot, it paved the way for countless imitators, becoming something of a victim of its own success. The legions of human resource managers and accounting juniors whose lives it made easier haven’t forgotten, though. 

4. Divvy 

Don’t call Divvy an Expensify imitator. Sure, at first glance the two companies have much in common, and it’s true that Divvy came later. 

But Divvy is an innovator in its own right. To the basic expense tracking and reporting suite it added a well of powerful business budgeting capabilities. Then it iterated into a credit provider, carving out a niche as a purveyor of flexible business credit lines accessible via sleek employee cards. With a history like that, it’s no wonder many believe Divvy’s best act is yet to come. 

5. Payoneer 

Payoneer could be the most influential payment tech app you’ve never heard of. Then again, if you’ve ever purchased products or services from an international vendor, chances are high you’ve utilized Payoneer, intentionally or not. Payoneer partners with the world’s biggest e-commerce marketplaces, from Amazon to eBay, and supports rapid overseas payments for freelancers, creative firms, and established enterprises alike. 

Lessons For The Next Wave Of Fintech Innovation? 

It’s risky to read too much into any single company’s success. Sometimes, entrepreneurs just happen to be in the right place at the right time. 

We certainly can draw lessons from the early years of the fintech boom, though. And these successful companies, taken together, have much to share. When doubts creep in, look to them for renewed inspiration.

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